The system of intercropping maize with other plant species has been a common practice for several years, but its use has been increasingly mainly to improve the quality of soil physical properties of no-tillage system. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of intercropping using different cover plants on the physical properties of soil and the productivity of maize. Field experiments were conducted on the property of Mr. Arno Paulo Deimling, located in Linha São João, in the municipality of Quatro Pontes-PR. The experiment was carried out using a randomized complete block design, with four treatments and five repetitions. The treatments were winter maize intercropped with Urochloa brizantha, Urochloa ruziziensis or black oats (Avena strigosa), and maize sown in monoculture. In winter period, the production of maize used for silage and the production of dry matter from cover crops were assessed. The physical properties of soil samples were also investigated. Cover crops did not influence the productivity of winter maize used for silage, but it promoted improvements in soil macroporosity. The cover crops promoted improvements in the macroporosity of the soil and reduction at soil penetration resistance, particularly in the area planted with U. brisantha, demonstrating its potential in improving water infiltration and soil aeration.
Key words: Direct seeding system, green manures, macroporosity, soil penetration resistance, conservationist system.
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